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Mitt Romney’s Top 5 Flip-Flops

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For Mitt Romney, today’s presidential announcement has been years in the making – and for most people, it's about as surprising as a morning sunrise. Since at least the 1990s, Romney has engaged in a calculated and ongoing effort to measure the political winds of the moment and change his positions to meet his immediate needs.

It's hard to find a major political issue on which Mitt Romney hasn't flip-flopped from one side of a debate to the other. Three years ago, this general lack of conviction derailed his 2008 presidential campaign – and today, voters are still rightfully suspicious of a candidate with a decades-long record of saying and doing anything to win their approval.

From the anthology of flip-flops over the past two decades, here are Mitt Romney’s top 5:

5) Mitt Romney Flip-Flopped on the Recovery Act:

THEN: Romney: The Democrats Stimulus “Will Accelerate The Timing Of The Start Of The Recovery.” According to the Boston Phoenix, Romney wrote in his book that “A stimulus package ‘was called for’ after the late-2008 economic downturn, and the Democrats’ stimulus ‘will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery.’” [Boston Phoenix, 2/10/10]

NOW: Romney Called The Stimulus Package A Failure And Said The President Made The Economy Worse.” Romney also said the stimulus package was a failure. ‘The president indicated that his stimulus would hold unemployment to 8 percent, and that if he didn’t pass the stimulus of almost a trillion dollars it would go to 10 percent. Well, we went to 10 percent. So it was a bad miscalculation that’s going to cost the American people a lot.’” [KSL, 12/3/09]

4) Mitt Romney Flip-Flopped on TARP:

THEN: Romney Said TARP Was “The Right Thing For The Country” As “We Were On The Precipice” And “It Was A Scary Time For A Lot Of People.” Romney said about McCain voting for TARP, “He said, look, it is very bad politics to be for TARP. On the other hand, it’s the right thing for the country. And that’s why he voted for it. That’s why a lot of Republicans voted for it.” [Cavuto, Fox News, 1/28/10]

NOW: Romney: Shut Down TARP. According to the Detroit News Romney said that as President he’d “Shut down TARP, which bailed out the banking and financial industries. ‘Using it as a feel-good fund is a mistake, and adds additional burdens to the economy.’ [Detroit News, 2/19/10]

3) Mitt Romney Flip-Flopped on Health Care Reform:

THEN: 2007: Romney Said That The Massachusetts Plan “Will Be A Model For The Nation.” “During a speech in Baltimore on Feb. 2, 2007, Romney outlined his ambitions for the Massachusetts plan. ‘I’m proud of what we’ve done,’ he said. ‘If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation.’ [Newsweek, 4/16/10]

NOW: Romney: Health Care Reform Should Be Left To The States. Romney said, “Number two, it’s best done state by state. Getting everyone insured is very different to do in Massachusetts than it is in Texas.” [MSNBC, 3/3/10]

2) Mitt Romney Flip-Flopped on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”:

THEN: 1994: Romney Supported Allowing Gays And Lesbians “To Serve Openly And Honestly In Our Nation’s Military.” “Clinton’s don’t ask/don’t tell policy on gays in the military is a fine first step, Mitt muses, but must ‘ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation’s military.’” [Boston Herald, 10/20/94]

NOW: 2006: Romney Said He Supported Maintaining “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Romney: “As for military policy and the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, I trust the counsel of those in uniform who have set these policies over a dozen years ago. I agree with President Bush’s decision to maintain this policy and I would do the same.” [National Review Online, 12/14/06]

1) Mitt Romney Flip-Flopped on Aid to the Auto Industry:

THEN: In a 2008 New York Times op-ed, titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” Mitt Romney claimed: “If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.”

NOW: The New York Times quotes the spokesman in response to a question about the President’s decision to help automakers: “Mitt Romney had the idea first. You have to acknowledge that. He was advocating for a course of action that eventually the Obama administration adopted.”